On this day in 1994, an aircraft “BAC-111 of Oriental Airline” carrying 30 players of Iwuanyanwu Nationale including ten officials crashed in Tamaransett, Algeria.
The then Nigerian champions, Iwuanyanwu Nationale, were returning from Tunisia where they had lost 3-0 to Esperance in the first leg of the quarterfinals of the African Cup of Champions (now CAF Champions League).
The chartered BAC 1-11 of the Oriental Airlines, owned by the club proprietor, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu took off, did not have a really favourable weather because of the early morning fog of the Sahara Desert region. This forced it to make an emergency landing at Agenat Airport, Tamanrasset in the Algerian Southern border with the Niger Republic.
While trying to do so, it crashed into a pole, then a lorry and finally into a fire station building. The aircraft had circled in the airspace for almost three hours. After a mighty explosion the aircraft came to a halt.
Even though the aircraft was almost totally reduced to rubbles, 30 passengers came out alive even though some were seriously wounded. But sadly, five people died including two players.
The players who lost their lives were a midfielder, Eghomwanre ‘Omale’ Aimanmwosa, and goalkeeper Uche Ikeogu.
Also lost in the crash were the pilot identified as Captain Amaechi; the co-pilot, Captain Chinedu Ogbonna and an air steward, Obiageli Ezeh.
Badly injured were Okon Ating and 20 others. Among the survivors were former Nigeria skipper and ex-coach, Christian Chukwu, former National Sports Commission director, Steve Olarinoye Bola Oyebode of the Nigeria Football Federation and Chief Amanze Uchegbulam former NFF 1st Vice president.
On behalf of Ndigbo, the Centre For Memories – Ncheta Ndigbo remember these heroes today and always.
We will never forget them. May their souls continue to Rest In Peace.
Source: Center for Memories